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LinkedIn clamps down on its own Red Light District

Business of all kinds is being done on LinkedIn and earlier this year the professional networking tool started a campaign to remove friskier business from its site. Lobbyists against the public advertisement of prostitution may agree with the mass removals of escort profiles but with legal escorts flooding the site and under the radar working girls continuing to promote their businesses, LinkedIn is finding the removal of its own version of a Red Light District a little harder.

In The US State of  Nevada, the oldest profession is not only ancient but it’s legal too. Ranches like the famed Moonlite Bunny Ranch legally employ working girls – while paying taxes. But no matter how famed these raunchy ranches may be, they still benefit from promotion, so LinkedIn has served them just as well as it has any other business. Until recently. Dennis Hof, owner of a handful of legal Nevada brothels disagrees with the moral objection LinkedIn is making on his legal business telling NBC News, “We have a license to do this…These are businesswomen, and some of them are making mid-six-figure incomes.” Hof argues the case of his employees, hoping the purge on prostitution profiles doesn’t hurt his business too much considering how much social media boosts his income – Hof is reported to be the highest tax payer in his county.

LinkedIn made their position on the matter very clear earlier this year when they updated their user agreement to include – “Even if it is legal where you are located, (users cannot) create profiles or provide content that promotes escort services or prostitution.” With this in mind, many sex-related services have taken to using nuances like ‘nude massage’ or ‘adult entertainment.’ But with new terms also looking to allow children as young as thirteen to create profiles, they’ve had to have a look at these kinds of businesses too, legal or not. Combing the 238 million profile site for fence-straddling language will not only be a task and a half but many businesses that do not trade in sex will be affected as well.

These new terms simply won’t be implemented as easily as a removal of all profiles that contain mention of the word ‘escort’. And what will determine whether a service is saucy or seedy? No matter what happens, it looks like agencies of this kind will continue to bend just below detection, so may be here to stay.




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